The United States Navy (USN) has released details of the support work it is providing to Indonesia in the search and recovery of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 which crashed while flying between Surabaya and Singapore on December 28.
So far, search teams have recovered 37 bodies from the Java Sea but the remains of most of the crash victims are presumed to be still inside the aircraft. There were 137 adult passengers, 17 children and one infant, along with two pilots and five crew, on the aircraft.
The recovery operation, including the search for the A320’s flight data recorders, has resumed, as local weather and sea conditions improve.
The USN says it has: “pushed our newest and most capable platforms forward in support of this important effort to help our partners and friends in the region during this time of tragedy.”
The USS Fort Worth, a littoral combat ship, arrived in the search area on January 3 and commenced search efforts for Air Asia flight QZ8501 at the request of the Indonesian government.
USS Fort Worth joins the guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson which has been on station and searching since December 29.
A USN statement explained the USS Fort Worth is on a rotational deployment to the US 7th Fleet and brings: “manoeuvrability, speed and a shallow draft, which allows her to conduct expeditious visual and radar searches in a congested, shallow water environment.” The Fort Worth is also outfitted with a MH-60R helicopter as well as two 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats to further maximise recovery efforts.
The Navy says both ships will remain on station as long as their assistance is helpful to the Indonesian-led multinational search effort.